Institute’s miserable run continued as Ballymena United deservedly secured a 2-1 win at Drumahoe.
Despite getting off to the perfect start thanks to Robbie Hume’s early goal, the Waterside men never looked like getting back into the game after David Munster and Alan Teggart had given United the lead in the first half.
Yes, the Drumahoe side had a lot of possession in the second half but in truth they never tested Stuart Addis in the Ballymena goal, but the main talking point after the game was the controversial penalty award by referee Keith Kennedy.
The Lisburn official pointed to the spot much to the surprise of everyone at the ground, following an off the ball incident involving Paddy McLaughlin and Johnny Taylor.
Paul Kee made one change to his side that lost at Cliftonville, with Lee Toland replacing Declan McKeever, who dropped to the bench.
As United they stuck with the side which seen off Ballinamallard United in mid-week and booked their place in the League Cup.
After week’s of trying Institute’s corner routine finally worked on four minutes when Lee Toland’s left wing corner low into the near post found Hume and his deflected shot from just inside the box found the back of the net.
United pushed forward in search of an equaliser and they were denied minutes later when Darren Boyce’s powerful close range header was superbly kept out by Institute goalkeeper Martin Gallagher.
On 14 minutes some last ditch defending by McLaughlin denied Boyce an equaliser when he got back to head the striker’s shot off the line.
Gallagher was called in action again soon after when he did well to keep out David Munster’s header, after the home side failed to clear their lines properly.
United were awarded a penalty on 30 minutes when McLaughlin and Taylor clashed off the ball, referee Kennedy pointed to the spot and Teggart made no mistake from 12 yards.
The woodwork came to the home side’s rescue when Teggart’s left footed strike, which had Gallagher beaten, came back off the post and the Stute goalkeeper grabbed the loose ball.
Institute were forced into a change at the break with Eugene Ferry replacing Gallagher, as the net-minder went into the game struggling.
United had a super chance to go further ahead on 63 minutes but Neal Gawley fired wide from 20 yards, after Teggart had set him up.
Soon after Ferry was called into action when Allan Jenkins got in behind the Stute back-line, but his well hit shot was saved by the substitute.
Institute: Gallagher (Ferry H-T), McLaughlin (Doherty 60), O’Donnell, D Curry; S Curry, Walsh, Crown, Burke, Toland; Hume (McIntyre 74), McVeigh.
Ballymena United: Addis, Kane, Munster, Taylor, McBride, Gawley, Surgenor, Jenkins, Teggart (Kane 90), Boyce (McCullagh 87), Tipton (Ferguson 67).
Referee: Mr Keith Kennedy (Lisburn).